Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Ask Linda #301-Stableford recommendations

Hi Linda,
I wonder if you can help please.

I run a golf society with players of varying abilities and I am trying to devise a fair way of putting together a doubles completion. The handicaps range from 10 to 28.

I would like both players scores on each hole to count as it will be a random draw and we could end up with 2 good players together and also 2 not so good players together.

I am thinking about a solution incorporating a ¾ handicap in a Stableford format perhaps. Can you suggest a format which could even things up and make it interesting? I have searched the net, but have not really found anything suitable.

Yours hopefully,
Lou Lou

Dear Lou Lou,

Coincidentally, Lou, I was also looking for a format for a men’s team tournament for my association in which both balls would count and players of varying abilities could compete fairly. I opted for a Stableford with competitors receiving 80% of their Course Handicap.

My choice was the traditional Stableford described in the Rule Book [Rule 32-1b], which means there will be no negative points, and the Stableford points will be consecutive. I am running this as a net tournament, and am awarding 1 point for a net bogey, 2 for a net par, 3 for a net birdie, 4 for a net eagle, and 5 for a net albatross (double eagle). Since players will receive no points (0) for a double bogey or worse, I am hoping this will help with the pace of play. All players will be instructed to pick up their ball if their gross score on a hole will be three or more over par.

Mine will be a two-man team tournament in which both players’ Stableford points will be added together; it is not a Four-Ball (Better Ball) tournament. Since there are no negative points, if one partner has a bad hole he will not drag down the team score.

Players in your group (and my readers) may be familiar with the Modified Stableford used by the pros. The Modified Stableford gives the pros higher points for birdies and eagles, and severely penalizes poor scores with negative points. Typical amateur golfers are not going to be scoring numerous gross birdies and eagles. Also, it can be discouraging for amateurs to lose points on a bad hole. For these reasons, I would recommend a traditional Stableford for any amateur group.

The difference between giving players 75% or 80% of their Course Handicap is so small as to be insignificant. Whichever reduction you choose should be fine.

If you decide to try this format of a traditional two-man Net Stableford, counting both balls and reducing players’ Course Handicaps to 75% or 80%, please share your statistics and findings with me. This will be a new experiment for both of us, and I will be interested to learn whether the results indicate a fair competition for players of varied skill levels.

Copyright © 2011 Linda Miller. All rights reserved.